Victor Martinez now a Red Saaaacks playa

It’s official, with only minutes before the trading deadline: Former K-Tribe player and three-time MLB All-Star Victor Martinez has been traded from Cleveland to Boston. The Indians are getting prospects in return.

My take: Well, that’s called giving up the ghost. Martinez, Cliff Lee, Ryan Garko and Ben Francisco are gone, which means the Indians have given up on 2009. Why would you even want to go to a Cleveland game, unless it’s to see the other team now.

Boo.

Which restaurants would you like in Kinston?

This blog entry comes courtesy of Free Press Night Editor Christopher R. Yates, who was lamenting with me about the lack of quality eating establishments in Kinston.

Before one of my restaurant friends starts beating me about the head and shoulders, let me finish: I love Lovick’s Cafe, King’s, China King and Abbott’s, but I’d love to have one — just ONE — seafood restaurant in Kinston. Yes, I know (and passionately love) the Sandpiper, but it’s in La Grange.

Anyhoo, here is a list of 5 restaurants I’d love to see come to Kinston. Maybe one of you rich entrepreneurs out there can do something about this…

1. Cracker Barrel: Simply, the best breakfast I’ve ever had — and it’s happened at all 57 CBs where I’ve eaten.

2. Buffalo Wild Wings: The best Buffalo wings I’ve ever had — and it’s happened at all 7 BW3′s (what it USED to be called) where I’ve eaten. More specifically, though, Kinston is in desperate need of a sports bar for us 30, 40 and 50-somethings to go and watch a game while knocking down a beverage of our choice. Bee-Dubs would satisfy that criteria to a T.

3. Waffle House: OK, the food sucks at WH, but Kinston needs a place you can go to at 3 a.m. and get some crappy food to knock off your buzz.

4. Captain D’s/Long John Silver’s: This goes to the seafood complaint above. It’s unfathomable to me that there is not a place you can get seafood in Kinston! Yes, you can get a plate at King’s, but it’s not the same. And although I love the McDonald’s fish filet sammich (as Jon Dawson calls it), I’d love an artery-clogging fried fish combo every now and then without having to drive to La Grange, Goldsboro, Greenville or Jacksonville.

5. Outback Steakhouse: Simply the best chain steakhouse out there; I enjoy The Barn Restaurant immensely, along with The Baron and the Beef, but there’s something about those Australian steaks…

Honorable mentions: Red Lobster, Sonic, Chili’s, TGI Friday’s and Chuck E. Cheese.

I know I have to be forgetting a few — give me your lists. I’m thinking about writing my column on this for Sunday, so your feedback might make it into that column.

Morning News Report; July 31, 2009

CASH FOR CLUNKERS ALREADY OVER?

The government’s Cash For Clunkers — set to last through Nov. 1 or $1 billion spent by the U.S., whichever comes first — may already be done, as car dealers have been overwhelmed with customers ready to trade in their gas-guzzlers for $3,500 to $4,500.

My take: The powers-that-be had no idea this plan would be THIS successful, I’m sure.

And as anti-government as I am most of the time, this plan is a good one in my mind. You get fuel-inefficient vehicles off the road AND spur car buying? What’s the loss in this scenario?

‘SEINFELD’ REUNION ON ‘CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM’

The cast of “Seinfeld” will reunite for the Season 7 finale of Larry David’s HBO series, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. Details are sketchy, but it appears it’ll be a “show within a show” concept with David — who helped create “Seinfeld” — and Jerry Seinfeld creating the comeback.

My take: I love and own every season of “Seinfeld” but haven’t been able to get into “CYE” the same way. “CYE” is funny and has its own twists, but it’s just not the same.

However, I will be in front of the TV for the season finale. I’ve thought it would be cool to see where Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer are after a decade — maybe this will give us an idea.

HAWAII FOOTBALL COACH USES HOMOPHOBIC SLUR

University of Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin used the word “faggot” to describe a Notre Dame cheer/chant at yesterday’s Western Athletic Conference media day.

He later asked reporters to not make a big deal of it — or not to report it at all.

My take: Although I’m sure some of you will accuse me of trying to be PC here, I’m not – but this was not kosher.

I’ve often thought that if someone tries to drop that word or the “N” word in casual conversation, that tells you everything you need to know about them. But to do it in front of the media? He’s also stupid.

And before you call me a hypocrite (yes, I have a “Really, really gay” category to your right), I support every person’s right to live their life as they feel they should. In my opinion, if you’re a homosexual, that’s not your choice (99 percent of the time), that’s how God made you.

Although our society has come a long way in giving gays and lesbians more equal footing, do you really think someone — especially in the South — would choose to be gay or to have to put up with the ridicule and the losing of friends and family for your sexual choice?

The iPod shuffle

Justify My Love — Madonna

Come As You Are — Nirvana

Heartless — Kanye West

Wheel In The Sky — Journey

Gold Digger — Kanye West (note: I have, like, five Kanye songs on my iPod and two of them show up in one shuffle? Wow)

Big Papi, Ramirez tested postive for PEDs in 2003

The New York Times is reporting that Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. Their positive tests are one of more than 100 MLB players who were tested that year in what was supposed to remain secret.

Other players who have shown to have had a positive test that year include Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa.

My take: My respect for baseball continues to drop. And what does this say about the Red Sox title in 2004 (and 2007?).

It’s this simple, Major League Baseball: release the complete damned list NOW. This releasing a couple names every few months is getting old.

The innocent players are going to be dragged through the mud until the entire list is released.

Who else do you think is on the list? I’m not a Yankees fan (in fact, I hate them with every shred of fiber in my soul), but I respect and admire Derek Jeter. If I find out he’s on the list — or has ever used PEDs or steroids — I’m probably going to be through with MLB.

Ridiculous.

Morning News Report; July 30, 2009

FREE PRESS READERS TO SELECT 7 WONDERS OF LENOIR COUNTY

As announced in Jon Dawson’s column today, you — dear Free Press reader and faithful bloggee — will help select the Seven Wonders of Lenoir County. For the next few weeks, J-Dizzle will start accepting nominations at his blog soon and we’ll announce the Seven Wonders in future editions of TFP.

After all the nominations are in, a lucky winner will receive a delicious meal for two at the Barn Steakhouse.

Jon started you out with three nominees: the Cummings billboard (see below), the Doughburger at Lovick’s Cafe and the humongous flag at Wynn Odom Ford in La Grange.

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Mmmmmm … plastic surgery. Click on the picture itself for a much better view.

(Photo taken by our very own Janet “J-Stunna” Sutton, who said she got some curious looks while she was setting up for the shot)

My take: There are some other Wonders that immediately come to mind, including the CSS Neuse II, the original CSS Neuse, Jaime Pressley, the Performing Arts Center at Kinston High School, King’s BBQ, the well-manicured sports fields at South Lenoir High School, the Kinston/Lenoir County Visitor’s Center, Reece Gardner, this blog, Grainger Stadium and the Magic Mile of downtown Kinston.

What are some of the other Wonders of Lenoir County? Either go to Dawson’s blog or you can leave your nominations here.

‘BEER SUMMIT’ HELD AT WHITE HOUSE TODAY

Can’t believe we haven’t brought this up yet, but today President Obama will meet with a black Harvard professor and a white Massachusetts cop at a picnic table behind the White House. It’s an attempt to defuse comments made by Obama when the president said the cop “stupidly” arrested the professor — at the professor’s home.

My take: Admittedly, I’m not as up to snuff on this as I probably should be. It strikes me as something that Obama didn’t have his Teleprompter ready when he was asked a question, he answered off the cuff about something he didn’t know all the details about, and the resulting fallout has occurred.

Anyway, Obama loves a photo op and that’s what it seems like is going to happen at 6 p.m. today at the White House.

MLB TRADE DEADLINE APPROACHES

The Cleveland Indians dealt Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco yesterday to the Philadelphia Phillies for four minor leaguers, including one who will probably play in Kinston.

With less than 28 hours before the MLB trading deadline ends, there are some other scenarios lurking out there — including a couple involving Cleveland. All-Star catcher Victor Martinez is probably headed out, while Toronto is still shopping Roy Halladay.

My take: What the heck is going on with Cleveland? The powers-that-be in Tribe Town have taken teams that won championships in Kinston, Akron and (then) Buffalo and can’t win squat. Maybe it’s time to clean house in leadership — not just in players.

The iPod shuffle

Hey Jealousy — Gin Blossoms

Ask The Lonely — Journey

Lucky Star — Madonna

Role Model — Eminem

Turn Off The Light — Nelly Furtado

Morning News Report; July 29, 2009

NYC HOMELESS SHIPPED TO NC

Thanks to intrepid FP reporter Justin Schoenberger for the heads-up on this: New York City has been buying one-way plane tickets to ship its homeless out of its city.

Here’s the kicker: After Puerto Rico (136) and Florida (100), North Carolina has had the most NYC homeless folks — 47 — shipped here.

The NYC folks call it a success — not one person they’ve flown away has returned to one of the city’s homeless shelters.

My take: I have to admit, I’m a little surprised by the number of N.C. residents that have returned, although I’m not surprised that NYC would do such a thing. This smacks of ethnic cleansing to me, to a degree.

REGGIE BUSH, KIM KARDASHIAN SPLIT’

New Orleans Saints RB Reggie Bush and TV reality show star Kim Kardashian have broken up, although they remain friends. The breakup is blamed on distance, not on anything nefarious.

It’s the second NFL player-Hollywood star breakup in recent days; Dallas Cowboys’ QB Tony Romo broke up with Jessica Simpson last week.

My take: Too bad. Guess the players realize they need to focus on the field, not on … well, boobies and stuff.

Here are some pictures for you to remember the Kardashian-Bush coupling in better days:

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OK, and a nice red carpet photo of Kim:

072909-kardashian.jpg

OKAFOR TRADED TO HORNETS FOR CHANDLER

The Charlotte Bobcats have traded Emeka Okafor to the New Orleans Hornets for Tyson Chandler.

My take: A totally non-sensical trade to me for the Bobcats. Why trade arguably the face of your franchise for a broken-down center? What the hell are they doing in Charlotte?

On top of it, I’m pissed because now I have three Okafor jerseys — including an official game-day jersey — that are totally freaking worthless. Arrrgh.

Combined with the Ryan Garko trade to San Francisco — I have a Cleveland Indians T-shirt with Garko’s name and number on it — my sports shirt/jersey collection has taken a hit in the past couple of days.

The iPod shuffle

Roxanne — The Police

CG2 — Nelly

Know When To Walk Away — Jay Clifford (Check the video out for this song; it’s AWESOME, arguably one of the best I’ve ever seen:)

Little Amsterdam — Tori Amos

Don’t Be Afraid — Boston

P.S.: Faithful blogger ENCMetalhead has a music blog up and going; check it out here. Give our boy some page views.

Favre … is … NOT COMING BACK!!!

Allegedly, the most wishy-washy player in the history of professional sports has decided not to play this year.

Brett Favre has allegedly told the Minnesota Vikings that he allegedly will not play for them this year.

My take:

I really don’t believe it; my guess is that in the third week of the preseason, he’ll reconsider and force himself on the Vikings. We’ll see.

Oh yeah, he allegedly did this when he talked to ESPN:

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GOOD RIDDANCE!!!

ECU places five on preseason All-CUSA team

The 12 Conference USA coaches voted on their preseason All-Conference awards today and five East Carolina University Pirates made the first teams, including C.J. Wilson as the league’s preseason defensive player of the year; here are the teams:

Offensive Player of the Year

Case Keenum, QB, Houston

Defensive Player of the Year

C.J. Wilson, DL, East Carolina

Special Teams Player of the Year

Damaris Johnson, KR, Tulsa

First-team offense

QB Case Keenum, Jr., Houston

RB Bryce Beall, So., Houston

RB Damion Fletcher, Sr., Southern Miss

OL Sean Allen, Sr., East Carolina

OL Carl Barnett, Sr., Houston

OL Ryan Hebert, Sr., Southern Miss

OL Tyler Holmes, So., Tulsa

OL Dominik Riley, Jr., Memphis

OL Jake Seitz, Sr., UAB

WR DeAndre Brown, So., Southern Miss

WR Tyron Carrier, So., Houston

WR Emmanuel Sanders, Sr., SMU

TE Cody Slate, Sr., Marshall

First-team defense

DL Anthony Gray, Jr., Southern Miss

DL Albert McClellan, Sr., Marshall

DL Bruce Miller, Jr., UCF

DL C.J. Wilson, Sr., East Carolina

LB Mike Bryan, Sr., Tulsa

LB Mario Harvey, Sr., Marshall

LB Nick Johnson, Sr., East Carolina

DB Van Eskridge, Sr., East Carolina

DB Eddie Hicks, Sr., Southern Miss

DB James Lockett, Sr., Tulsa

DB Andrew Sendejo, Sr., Rice

First Team Special Teams

K Ben Hartman, Sr., East Carolina

P Ross Thevenot, Jr., Tulane

KR Damaris Johnson, So., Tulsa

PR D.A. Griffin, Jr., Memphis

My take: A very, very good sign that Jeff Charles is going to say “Painting it Purple” a lot in Greenville this year.

A solution to the K-Tribe’s one-run woes?

From the Kinston Indians:

Drastic Plan to Halt the One Run Blues!

The K-Tribe Front Office Devises Plan to Break the Dreaded UNO OHNO Curse!

Kinston, NC – Monday night’s 4-3 loss to the Winston-Salem Dash marked the 26th one-run loss of the season for the K-Tribe.  The K-Tribe is now 10-26 in one-run games this season (the second most one-run losses in all of Minor or Major League Baseball) and the only logical explanation is that the 2009 Kinston Indians have been inflicted with the dreaded UNO OHNO curse.  Therefore the Indians will try to appease the stitched spirits by giving back to the fans. 

During the next K-Tribe homestand from August 3rd – 9th, if Kinston loses or wins a game by one-run, everyone in the stadium gets a voucher for a free ticket to an upcoming K-Tribe game.  One-run fun will break the UNO OHNO curse.

“At first we thought an appropriate response would be to sacrifice a pelican, hillcat and warthog at home plate in Historic Grainger Stadium to break the curse,” said voodoo expert and K-Tribe General Manager Shari Massengill.  “But our Assistant GM is a member of PETA and weird about stuff like that.  It also seems that all of the warthogs have mysteriously disappeared from North Carolina.”

Forged from the hell fires of baseball superstition, the UNO OHNO curse developed when a young and naïve game day intern commented “boy, we sure win a lot of close games” in the ninth inning of a one-run game between the Denver Dung Beetles and the Southside Northsiders of the Not Gunna MakeThe Pros League.  The Southside Northsiders not only went on to lose that nights and the remaining 50 games of the NGMTP season by one-run, but also hit rock bottom with the terrible dizzy bat race accident involving their beloved mascot Mr. Stuffy.

“I don’t know how the UNO OHNO curse has been brought upon us,” exclaimed Massengill.  “Maybe it is the fact that the Kinston Indians own the best winning percentage of any full season team in Minor League Baseball over the past 15 years.  Maybe it’s our ridiculously inexpensive new Two Dollar Tuesday promotion, featuring $2 reserved seat tickets, burgers, beers and sodas for every Tuesday home game.  Or maybe the bad karma was brought upon us do to something shady our radio guy Chris Hemeyer did in the offseason.  Yep, definitely Hemeyer…..or Rodney Choy Foo.”

Your next chance to break the UNO OHNO curse comes on Monday, August 3rd as the K-Tribe returns home to Historic Grainger Stadium for a seven game homestand through August 9th!There are just 17 more home games left in the 2009 season.  Reserved seat tickets are just $4 for students, seniors and the military.  G.A. for the general public is just $5, reserved seats are $6.  Parking is always free at Historic Grainger Stadium.  For a schedule or to purchase and print your tickets on-line go to the K-Tribe’s Official Website at www.kinstonindians.com or call the front office at 1-800-334-5467.

My take: Definitely an interesting promotion!

Listen — if you haven’t gotten out to a K-Tribe game this year, it’s your loss. It’s cheap, the food is great (and cheap, too!) and it’s a lot of fun.

And now, with this promotion, you could even earn a free ticket. Check ‘em out!